Monday, 19 February 2007

NBA Power Rankings

With the All-Star break and all of its festivities (including Charles Barkley vs. Dick Bavetta) behind us, I figured now would be as good a time as any for my Top 10 NBA Power Rankings.

(1) Dallas Mavericks (44-9) - The thing I like about Dallas is that they have the personnel to beat you in a multitude of ways. During their 9 game winning streak they have scored over 105 points on 4 separate occasions. They've also won a game 80-77. Oh yeah... after their first 21 games, they were 14-7. Since, they're 30-2. Just think about that for a second. Wow.

(2) Phoenix Suns (39-13) - The Suns would have a shot to be #1, but then Steve Nash got hurt and they lost 3 straight heading into the break. Still, their top 6 (Nash, Bell, Diaw, Stoudemire, Marion, Barbosa) is better than anyone else's top 6, and their style of play is the most unique in the NBA. Honestly, the only thing I think that can derail them from a rematch against Dallas in the Conference Finals is injury. Barring that, they're too talented and too well-coaches to fall to anyone else.

(3) San Antonio Spurs (35-18) - Ho hum, the Spurs keep plugging along. Duncan has been fantastic, Parker has been very solid, and Ginobili should be well-rested for the playoffs (only playing 28 MPG). This is a team that will always be in it at the end.

(4) Houston Rockets (33-19) - Got to love what the Rockets are doing, especially without Yao. I know I've said this before but the Rockets remind me of last year's Heat team, with Yao being a better Shaq and T-Mac not quite being as good as Wade. One problem... while the Heat were able to win in one series against the West, I don't think they'd have made it to the Finals if they had been a 4 or 5 seed in the West, which is what Houston will ultimately be.

(5) Utah Jazz (35-17) - The big men, Boozer and Okur, are both excellent... but seriously, how good is Deron Williams? Good shooter (who showed during the Rookie/Sophomore game that he has great range), great passer, above average defender. Look at the numbers... 17.4 PPG, 9.2 APG, 3.5 RPG... I'm not saying I'd rather have him over Chris Paul (I'm not sure who I'd take), but the pick to take Williams looks a lot better now than it did last year.

(6) Detroit Pistons (32-19) - Hey, finally a team from the East! Cant' complain too much about C-Webb, but think for a second... in one season the Pistons went from having Ben Wallace as their starting center to Chris Webber. That defensive dropoff is like going from Jason Kidd (a bad defensive PG) to me as the starter. That's never good.

(7) Cleveland Cavaliers (31-22) - I can't really figure these guys out. With LeBron, I can see them going all the way to the NBA Finals. Then I see the rest of the backcourt... Larry Hughes, Damon Jones, Eric Snow, Daniel Gibson, and Sasha Pavlovic. Yikes.

(8) Chicago Bulls (29-25) - The record is not as good as some others, but their point differential is solid, and I really think the Bulls will be one of the teams to beat in the playoffs this year. Now, if they could only find a way to trade for KG, we'd all be happy.

(9) Los Angeles Lakers (30-24) - The Lakers have been struggling lately, but they should be helped by the soon return of Luke Walton (no, really). Walton's great passing and unselfishness really help to keep the triangle flowing... in some ways I think he is actually the 2nd most important player on the team.

(10) Washington Wizards (29-21) - They score on average 0.1 PPG more than their opponents and they don't win all that much on the road... I didn't really want to put them on this list, but no one else really jumped out at me. I think this year will win up a lot like last year for the Wiz... the explosive and exciting offense to make things very interesting and give them a chance to win in Round 1 of the playoffs, but ultimately they'll be undone by the fact that they can't stop anybody.

What would you change here?